This is an insider’s account of the last hours of late DSP Alamieyeseigha, the former governor of Bayelsa State, who died on Saturday October 10, 2015.
Pastor Gabriel Olalekan Popoola posted the following narration on his Facebook wall:
At about 2pm yesterday (Saturday, October 10, 2015), after a prolonged meeting that had held earlier in the church and my later personal engagement in the church office, the Resident Pastor walked to the office door and called me out.
He wanted me to follow one of our sisters in the church to a medical centre somewhere in Port Harcourt to pray for her sick relative. Earlier on, the sister had called the Resident Pastor to inform him about her very important relative who took ill the previous day and whose condition had not improved.
While talking to my senior pastor, unknown to me, she mentioned that the person in question was her cousin, and obviously, one she was very concerned about. His name? Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha, former governor of Bayelsa State. While the Resident Pastor was instructing me to go and pray for this sick person, I was shocked to hear Alamieyeseigha’s name! I had never met him one-on-one before; neither had it ever crossed my mind that I would ever meet him. And again, why now?
We (the sister and I) hopped into the vehicle and headed to the hospital: Ebony Hospital along Orazi/Ebony road, off Rumuokwuta/Rumuola road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
As we approached the Hospital, it became clearer to me that something serious was happening there, given the set of vehicles parked everywhere – inside and outside the hospital premises -, and the unusually raised number of security operatives present.
The sister walked into the compound while I followed. At the entrance, she began talking to some persons known to
her, occasionally in her local dialect, asking questions about DSP Alamieyeseigha, and letting them know that we were there to pray for him.
The several people she spoke to all advised that we wait downstairs as he was about to be brought down and transferred to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Choba. None showed any element of hope and excitement. Already, an ambulance was prepared with the door wide opened. They suggested I could pray for him in the ambulance when brought down.
While I listened and watched, the sister kicked, insisting on seeing him right away. She beckoned on me to please follow her upstairs. I did.
When we got to his hospital room, we saw Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha on the stretcher with a lot of wires from a couple of gadgets, including a computer-like device from where they were monitoring some readings, attached to his body. (Being a novice in this field, I wouldn’t know the names of the devices.)
Several medical experts were there, all battling to save his life, vigorously carrying out Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It was a much tensed atmosphere, not what I had expected! It appeared the situation was already getting out of control and the medical team was in a hurry to get him to UPTH.
I approached someone (a woman) whom I thought could permit me to move closer to him to offer prayer. She declined, responding that I could pray for him in the ambulance downstairs, as they were ready to move him out. Obviously, she was tensed and was more concerned about getting the sick to UPTH.
Knowing that I needed to pray, and my Christian sister stamping her authority as Alamieyeseigha’s relative and urging me on, I managed to move closer to him and touched his head, asking God for mercy and healing. The head was very cold, causing me a little personal concern.
At about the same time, they began to wheel him out. At the staircase, more hands were needed to convey the stretcher as it was impossible to roll the tyres on the staircase. I was beckoned upon, and I joined in lifting the stretcher straight to the ambulance downstairs. Immediately, the journey to UPTH began.
The sister asked me to please follow her and other family members to UPTH. I agreed as we both believed God for her brother’s healing.
By the time we got to UPTH, the sick had already arrived the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital. We went upstairs where the ICU was located, stopping at the entrance. The battle to save his life continued, with all the medical personnel doing their best. Here, additional gadgets were employed. A very calm elderly man whom I later got to know is the Medical Director (MD) of UPTH was there, leading other medical staff.
About thirty/forty minutes after we arrived UPTH, a delegation sent by Bayelsa State governor arrived from Yenagoa. While I wouldn’t know exactly who the members of the delegation were, I noticed that the environment suddenly became filled with security men. About five persons from the delegation were led into the ICU to see the sick. I waited outside the door as they walked in, having pulled their shoes and slipping their legs into a pair of white rubber slippers given to each of them.
Just by the ICU entrance, one of us standing there – a woman – was engaged in a telephone conversation with someone. From what she was saying, as I could hear and understand her, the party on the other end was asking to be allowed to send an air ambulance to ferry the sick to somewhere outside the country.
But this very concerned and praying woman kept stressing to the other party that that was impossible at that material time, given the sick’s condition. As I listened, I got a lot more concerned myself; especially with my Christian sister asking me again and again what I thought would happen to her sick brother.
Shortly after, the MD led the delegation and other family members to his own office downstairs to brief them officially about Chief Alamieyeseigha’s health situation. Because I was with these family members, I followed them.
In the MD’s office, after introduction (I introduced myself as a pastor sent to pray for him), a young doctor (in comparison to the MD) who had earlier been sent to Ebony Hospital from UPTH, and who was in the ambulance with the sick from Ebony Hospital to UPTH, was instructed, by the MD, to brief the delegation and family members of the sick.
It happened that, according to the doctor, a day earlier (Friday, October 9, 2015), Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha took ill and called a professor in Port Harcourt to inform him he wasn’t feeling fine. The professor asked him to come to Port Harcourt immediately. Alamieyeseigha did.
The professor examined him and recommended some tests (in addition to tests already done by DSP Alamieyeseigha elsewhere, which results he brought from Yenagoa and showed to the professor). The professor, according to the doctor doing the briefing, went through all the test results and directed that he should start dialysis immediately. According to the doctor, the professor recommended UPTH but DSP Alamieyeseigha preferred a private clinic. Ebony Hospital was chosen.
The following day, Saturday, October 10, according to the doctor, Alamieyeseigha was undergoing dialysis in the morning hours at Ebony Hospital, when suddenly he suffered cardiac arrest, creating serious complications.
While trying to control the situation and save his life, UPTH was contacted and a medical team, including the doctor doing the briefing, was sent to Ebony Hospital. This doctor stressed that when they arrived Ebony, the sick had no cardiac activity at all (I understood that to mean that the heart was no longer functioning).
He went further to state that this lack of cardiac activity had lasted more than six hours – more than four hours before I and my Christain sister arrived Ebony Hospital and more than six hours after we all arrived UPTH! Their only hope was the serious medical efforts they were mustering – hope which, at that time, was beginning to deem.
At this point, the MD whispered certain things (I was unable to understand) to the head of the delegation and the briefing came to an end.
Immediately after the briefing, things began to get really emotional – family members began to cry. In the MD’s office, being very moved myself, I approached a man I was told is DSP Alamieyeseigha’s younger brother and requested that I be allowed to pray for him, as God, I believe with my entire heart, could perform a miracle. He agreed and asked me to come up to the ICU. All this while, my Christian sister was already growing hysterical, making me thoroughly uncomfortable.
As we walked towards the ICU, without warning and unknown to others, I became emotional myself and was moved to tears. I really wouldn’t know why I was moved to tears, but I guess being human, I was overcome by the pains and anguish of people around me. In that atmosphere, I really was broken. However, I managed to conceal my feeling.
I came into the ICU and the doctor who had briefed everyone, who himself boldly declared in the ICU that he was expecting a miracle, granted me access to the sick. Seeing someone without any bodily movement, surrounded by medical experts trying to reactivate his heart, I humbly laid my hand on his head and, with a yielded and expectant heart, prayed, asking God for a miracle, having witnessed one before.
Immediately after the prayer, I left UPTH.
While I can’t explain more than this, I confess here that I felt the unbearable pains of DSP Alamieyeseigha’s family members and friends who were praying, crying and agonising as we all stood at the ICU entrance. I am human, and I doubt if any human being exists who, witnessing all I witnessed, would not be moved by compassion.
In the short hours that I was with him at the hospital, I witnessed all the moving and benevolent efforts of the medical team and that of his family members and friends to save his life, including those willing to offer air ambulance to send him outside the country.
Certainly, if all that would ever be required to save and prolong a life were money and medical support, Alamieyeseigha had them all! But I know that sustenance in life goes beyond just these two elements.
Witnessing the struggle of a medical team wanting to keep a man alive; observing the pains and agonies of family members and friends of the dying; and perceiving the very transient nature of life, I remembered my own humanity.
Irrespective of anything at all that could be said against this man at this point in time, my position, as a human being, and one who witnessed part of the whole struggle, is that I can only condole with his family, friends and the entire people of Bayelsa State.
As per judgment, the God of heaven will now handle the rest. The one that our laws could pronounce is no longer feasible, as per Alamieyeseigha.
As I sat in the vehicle, journeying back to the church office after this whole experience, and still believing for a miracle for Alamieyeseigha, I quietly re-examined the whole essence of life.
And my conclusion?
We all need to pay greater attention to Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14:
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil”.
About two/three hours after I left UPTH, news indeed broke that Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha had passed on!
Given the many-sided reactions that have greeted his obituary, including the comical approach in doubting and deriding his death on Twitter by several Nigerian twitter activists, and the several untrue versions of his death story being bandied about by the social media commentariat, it has become important for me to say the following:
“Ensure you live your life in such a way that you will fulfill your God-given destiny, employing only God-approved methods of operation, and obeying all God-given rules of acquisition. And while doing this, hold on to only your own God-given blessings, and never cornering other people’s God-given wealth.”
If the above is missed, virtually all other efforts of life would have ended in vain.
May God help us all to live well and end it well.
And do I still believe in God and His miracle working power? Certainly Yes!
May God give the deceased’s family, friends and associates strength to stand strong in this moment of bereavement, and comfort them all.
Rest in peace Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha!